In my previous post I talked about how HP locks down their hard drives (made by Seagate) with custom firmware that is exclusive to HP and with the huge caveat that if you do not have an HP storage controller the software update package provided by HP won’t work for you at all.
I spent the past 48 hours researching and trying different things. I unpacked the official HP firmware and tried to find the binary/firmware dump from within the .scexe file provided by HP on their website to no avail. I even contacted HP for help and they would not be willing to help if the drives were not connected to HP hardware.
After some research I discovered that the HP MB2000EAMZF 2TB drive I had was almost exactly the same (part number) as the official Seagate ST32000644NS drive after failing to be able to flash HPs firmware using HP’s bootable Firmware Update 8.3 (injecting the .scexe files inside this live CD) – I decided I really had nothing to lose but try the method I will explain below.
I purchased a few hard drives off ebay for Docker homelab that I am building and found a good deal on a 2TB HP Enterprise branded hard drive (basically a rebranded Seagate disk with HP stickers on them).
The disk actually is a Seagate ST32000644NS that HP calls it its own model MB2000EAMZF. Once the disks arrived and I was ready to test them I noticed a fatal flaw. Their firmware was very out of date and HP made a critical update that is mandatory for these drives to avoid them from failing due to 24/7 usage.
To my surprise although these drives are Seagate and the internals are exactly the same they run different firmwares, and Seagate’s tools or utilities will not flash or work on HP branded drives thus forcing you to grab the firmware updates from HP.
Seagate makes these firmware updates available for free and HP does as well but with one gotcha – you must run the firmware update tool in Hewlett Packard hardware or the firmware will not flash and there seems to be no workaround. Thumbs down to HP for locking down a critical firmware update to only run on HP Proliant server hardware (I have Dell but a SATA hard drive is recognized as a normal hdd on any brand computer thanks to computing standards).